Women’s History Month – Joan Tower

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Joan Tower was a late-bloomer as a composer. Her first break-out composition, “Sequoia”, was written when Tower was 41. Tower’s music is closely tied to the Louisville Orchestra as the LO recorded several of her works for their “First Edition” series.

Joan Tower was born in New York, but moved to Bolivia when she was a child. The rhythmic music of that area can be heard in many of her compositions. Tower’s early music career was as a pianist. She co-founded the music group called the Da Capo Chamber Players in 1969. She wrote many works for the group to perform. She eventually left the group in the mid 1980′s as her composing career took flight. Tower was appointed composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Tower became the first woman recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for music, awarded by the University of Louisville for her composition “Silver Ladders”, in 1990.

Five of Tower’s works were recorded by the Louisville Orchestra, including her concertos for clarinet, flute and piano. She’s also featured in the documentary about the Louisville Orchestra called “Music Makes a City”, which is currently being offered as a gift from WUOL if you pledge during our spring membership campaign.
Enjoy this interview with Ms. Tower as she discusses the challenges faced by the contemporary composer.

Showing the Love with Music Makes a City

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If you love WUOL, you probably love the Louisville Orchestra as well. As part of our membership drive, we’re offering the homegrown documentary Music Makes a City, the story of the founding and subsequent fame of the Louisville Orchestra, as a thank you gift.

Music Makes a City begins with the story of the great Ohio River Flood of 1937 and the founding of the Louisville Orchestra as part of the effort to rebuild the city after the disaster.  It then recounts the hard work and dedication of the young conductor Robert Whitney and Louisville mayor Charles Farnsley to keep the orchestra afloat, and the mayor’s bright idea to make the Louisville Orchestra into a cultural icon by commissioning new works by contemporary composers. This scheme brought the Louisville Orchestra into an international spotlight, with a performance in New York’s Carnegie Hall and a visit by a group of Soviet composers including Shostakovich.

In light of the Louisville Orchestra’s recent trouble, rebirth, and seemingly bright future with the leadership of Teddy Abrams and Andrew Kipe, Music Makes a City is an important reminder of the truly remarkable history of the institution. The film includes musical excerpts from the Louisville Orchestra’s First Edition recordings, and the special features disc is chock-full of interviews with composers like Ned Rorem and Elliott Carter, who had works premiered here by the Orchestra, and with members of the community who experienced much of the history first hand. Hearing these full interviews, where great American composers give their opinion of Louisville while Louisvillians give their opinions of the composers, are interesting in themselves, even taken out of the context of the documentary.

Hear directors Owsley Brown III and Jerome Hiler talk talk about some of this unique history and how it unfolds in their documentary.

We are currently offering Music Makes a City as a gift for members who pledge $15 a month or more.

Spring Membership Drive: Music Makes a City Premium

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During this Spring Membership Drive only, you can receive a copy of the DVD Music Makes a City with your sustaining contribution of $15/month or more ($180/year). Click here or call (502) 814-6565 to find out how.

Louisville Orchestra Mozart Soloists

This Saturday, March 15th at the Brown Theatre, the Louisville Orchestra will play an all-Mozart concert led by Tito Muñoz and featuring soloists from within the orchestra. Concertmaster Michael Davis and principal horn John Gustely sat down with Alan Brandt to talk about the concert and their roles in the orchestra.

Louisville Orchestra New Season with Teddy Abrams

Teddy Abrams was chosen as the eighth Music Director for the Louisville Orchestra earlier this season, and this week unveils his first season with the ensemble (2014-2015). Jorge Mester will conduct about half of the concerts, and the rest are left to the youngest music director in the orchestra’s history.

Here are some highlights from the concerts Abrams will be conducting:

September: Kevin Cole returns to play the other Second Rhapsody by Gershwin, and Storm Large will sing The Seven Deadly Sins of Kurt Weill.

October: An ambitious concert of Ives, Monteverdi, Mozart, Bach and recent Pulitzer-winner Caroline Shaw’s Courante from , precede Orff’s Carmina Burana.

January: Haydn’s “Mercury” symphony, Brahms’ First and a new work by Sebastian Chang.

March: Frenchmen Lully, Couperin and Ravel, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and most recent Grawemeyer-winner On the Guarding of the Heart by Djuro Zivkovic.

April: Beethoven’s Fifth, and John Williams’ The Cowboy Overture and the band Time for Three.

Erin Keane has this write up about the new season, too.